Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

Here are Barb's grandchildren Sofie and Ezra ready to ring in the New Year. Note Ezra dude'd up in his tux.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

My Christmas

I'd hired a car to take me to my sister's and I like to not be rushed so I go outside so I don't have to hurry when the car comes. As I'm sitting there a neighbor in the next building who I've known over the years comes by who I haven't seen in a while. She is an artist who calls herself Angry Woman, but she is not an angry woman -- maybe her art is. She asked if she could take my picture and I said yes, and then she sent it to me... so this was the eginning... and no, I don't have a new hairdo, the wind was blowing.

Here's their tree... my sister said they like them squatty.

This is Clark as we were opening presents. He likes to sit in the dog bed with Charlie (the dog) and I told them I would report this to Child Protective Services for making Clark sit in a dog bed, but of course, it's his choice.

I gave Mary this scarf/hat combo that is supposed to not flatten your hair, and Scott told her it looked like she was wearing a habib, which is sort of did.
Charlotte and Louisa got various make up items and here's Louisa applying it. What interested me is that as she did it Charlotte watched on her phone.
This is Clark in his room.

Ok, I get them mixed up but I have a 50/50 chance. I believe this is Oliver, the boy cat.

And this is Holly the girl cat.

And Charlie, definitely the boy dog, who speaks (seriousluy) "I love you" in that dog gutteral voice. Honestly.

Louisa wanted me to have photos of her room so here it is...

More Louisa's room...

Those aren't Christmas lights... she keeps them up all year and leaves them on like a nightlight.

So I had a nice day -- presents, lots of laughts, boeuf bourgignon over rice for dinner and for dessert a 4 layer devil's food cake that Scott made. Merry Christmas!


Thursday, December 22, 2016

What Mary claims she bought her nephew for Christmas...

Meet Cecil

This is from a Christmas letter:

When Brett began traveling, we inherited Cecil Cat Hood from him.

Cecil always finds unusual places to explore,

such as the clothes dryer.

He’s the funniest cat we’ve ever known;

he’s very inquisitive and can’t leave any new object uninvestigated.

His antics keep us entertained.




Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Milo Does Christmas

One of the presents I gave Mary is a game that I thought we would play this weekend and then she could take it to her sister's house to play at Christmas. So I had her open it while we were on the phone and she gave Milo the wrappings to play with.

She said:

He used to put more energy into his play but then again so did I.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Melissa Does NYC

Melissa and some women friends had a whirlwind three days in NY last week. They saw the Radio City Christmas show, St Pat's, the Rockefeller Center tree, 9/11 Memorial, the Empire State Building, the Statue of Liberty, Macy's, shopping, Ellis Island and a carriage ride in Central Park. She sent the cutest video of the carriage ride, but I couldn't get it to post and play.

Anyway, here are some shots:

This is the top of the Empre State Building
This is the skyline from NY Harbor with the Freedom Tower (new World Trade Center) in the middle.
at the 9/11 Memorial
at the 9/11 Memorial
at 9/11 Memorial
Needs no caption

Ellis Island (the place where immigrants used to be processed before entering the country)


Slip Sliding Away

My DC Christmas weekend was canceled. First Matt couldn't join us as he was helping friends going through a bad time, then Mary and Fran both got horrible colds. I was/am OK, but I was worried about the ice since I was driving. It was the kind of decision where you just had to beliee the Universe was telling you in every way possible to cancel.

As it turned out, it was a great decision. Everyone got to sleep, recuperate, and I didn't get involed in that 50-car (or so) pile up outside Baltimore. No way could I have walked on this ice... well, I could have walked on it but not for long.

Here are some photos from Mary's yard showing the ice today:

Mary always enjoys reading the Washington Post and drinking coffee, but today she was afraid to navigate her front steps to go get the paper which you can see in the orange bag.

I can definitely see myself doing a faceplant on Mary's deck. You park in her spot and then walk up a few steps and across the deck to her back door and I don't think I would have made it.

Sweetest Baby Ever

This is one-month old Michael, whose parents are friends with Mary's nephew.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Christmas Lunch with Russell

Russell and I had our annual Christmas lunch -- this has been going on for probably 30 years. It's our little tradtion. He stopped at Tal Bagels for great sandwiches, and to be festive, and Christmas-party-like, he bought us each a little Christmas tree cookie... vanilla cookie, covered with chocolate and green sprinkles. Great food and better conversation about a whole lot of topics.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016


Just spent 40 minutes still trying to resolve my double charging for the car service on Thanksgiving which was the vedor's fault and I was promised it would be resolved that day -- the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Nothing happened; I called their customer service; nothing happened. I filed a complaint at their website; Got an auto-response that they're investigating. Nothing happened. Had procrastinated about calling again. But I did this afternoon; kept getting a busy signal at the customer service.

So I called Citibank and was bounced around to different people (around the sub-continent of India) to get precisely the right person after hearing all the scripts and giving all the magic security words and last four digits of every number I'm associated with. I'm stuck on hold and I get call waiting and it's Melissa who is in NY so I hung up. I was at the end of my rope anyway.

The problem was that I was given a choice of things to say, one of which was "recent transactions" so I said those two words. From that choice, the fork in the road led to "hear your recent transactions" and which months you wanted. I repeated "dispute transaction" which only re-upped the "recent transaction" prompts... and on and on and effing on.

So I hung up and talked to Melissa, called back and started the process over again. This time it wasn't that bad. I feel bad in a way for the last person who has to talk to me because I am full out crabby. There are three charges from that day -- two for one amount and a third for a different amount. One for one amount and one for the other amount is correct. The duplicate was is not.

You'd think that would be fairly easy to spot but it wasn't on this clerk's part... finally she got it, after repeating it a few (dozen it seemed) times while I tried to seethe in silence. Then there were all sorts of questions and that's it.

If this ever happens to me again, I am going straight to disputing the chaarge and not believing/trusting that the vendor will fix it. I believe, somewhat conspiratorially, that the vendor just hopes you get worn down and give up and they keep the extra money.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Second Half of Yesterday

Amy is on her way back to Florida, but wrote:

We walked and shopped until we got hungry again and it was too late for a movie. So we ended up in an amazing restaurant on 19th that was some famous chef Nancy knew. We were waiting for a table and two great seats at the Barr opened up so we just sat there and are. Great little plate foods like a lentil salad and homemade charcruterie and a squash and goat cheese with roasted nuts terrine. I had a gin and coconut water cocktail that was so quenching and probably dangerous because it just went down too easy.

Pat again: Ever since I read this, I've been thinking about that cocktail... surely sounds good!

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Great Day Today

Bad selfie, but we tried... Nancy and Amy came over for the afternoon. Amy is up from Florida. We sdined on lobster rolls along with the crunchy fries and the coleslaw, followed by cheesecake from Two Little Red Hens... a veritable feast. Lots of gossip, lots of stories, lots of laughs with old friends. I used to work with both women back in my magazine days so we have a long history together.

So now they're off to go to the movies or shopping or some undetermined activity. A great way to kick off the Christmas season.

Monday, December 5, 2016

The Difference Between Mary and Me

Both of us had lunch guests on Saturday. Mary cooked... here's her report and accompanying photo:

Lunch was Moroccan vegetable soup over couscous.  It was really good - lots of spice (cinnamon, cumin, coriander, cayenne, salt and pepper). We ate all the dessert (well I finished off the last spoonful a few minutes ago) which was so easy and good, apple and blueberry crisp. The house smelled so good!

And how did I prepare lunch for my guest? I typed into my browser... my guest was a friend who goes back to kindergarten days and we always have a good time together. She is one of those people who keeps up with everyone, contacts people on Facebook so she has all the gossip and updates. I see her about 2 or 3 times a year and it's always like no time has passed. She has a great memory for detail so we had lots to talk about.

She walked to my place from Penn Station (Yeah, I know) and passed the Rockefeller Center tree which she said was a disappointment this year. She thought it was "scraggly" and later sent me this:

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Beware of what you find in the "clearance" section

I always check out the clearance section of websites where I'm buying something since I love me a good bargain... but when I was doing that today and found this... well, this is NOT a joke and is a real book.

First I sent it to Barbara and told her this is what I'm NOT getting her for Christmas. (/She replied thank you.) And I was so taken with it that I sent it to a few friends, among them Fran, whose Angelina saw the email and responded, "My fur is NOT for crafting." Well, excuse me. Don't know what MIlo thinks...

Mary's Thanksgiving

Party girl that she is, Mary celebrates twice, once in DC and once in Pennsylvania. Dinner has now been eaten in Pennsylvania and Mary reports:

I forgot to take pictures of the food.  Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, corn, green beans, creamed pearl onions, rolls, tossed salad, root beer cookies, oatmeal cookies, pumpkin pie, chocolate amaretto pie, and fruit cocktail cake.

I am full..
The kids are making graham cracker houses (they use icing to stick the crackers to little milk cartons)  so I got a couple of pictures   - and Judy. 


Credit Card tip

I had gotten my new Amex card and when I went to validate it on line you could request various alerts which I did. One such is called "card not present" and they send you an email every time your card is used without the physical card. Today I bought a gift on line, used the new card and sure enough, I instantly got an email. I don't have to do anything to confirm it so it's easy enough to do.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Lunch with Barb and PS on Clark

Barbara came over for her birthday lunch/our November lunch and we ordered from this other coffee shop called The Mansion (since it's near the Mayor's residence called Gracie Mansion) and we went for burgers. We splurged 45 cents extra to share waffle fries instead of regular fries. That's how we roll.

She didn't go to Two Little Red Hens for birthday cupcakes because the ATM near there was broken so she went to our other favorite bakery, Glaser's which has been open since 1902 and I swear (no joking) they have not renovated since then. The floors are tiny white tils and the display cases are all wood and the back is open and this old white guy apparently does all the baking on the premises. So she bought us rasberry linzer cookies and little heart cookies and the woman warned her (Barbara thought almost too much so) that the cookies had almond paste (the best part as far as I'm concerned) in case anyone had a nut allergy.

So here they are:

I had to put the leftovers out of reach as I believe in addition to almond paste, they must put a bit of crack in each cookie.

Barbara also questioned why there was no photo of Clark from Thanksgiving which was just a screw up on my part as he was supposed to be part of yesterday. Here's Clark who sat next to me, waited on me, and is as wonderful as ever.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Thanksgiving Report

Back from Long Island and a nice day. The best thing, of course, were the guests -- all liberal Democrats. We had traditional turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and since there were three vegans present some sort of vegetable caserole.

Here's my plate:

This is Louisa on the left and her school friend Lydia whose mother Sarah also came. Both are very lovely.
Louisa and me
Charlotte who will turn 18 on 12/12
And Charlie who is a very sweet dog.

Dessert was three kinds of pie -- apple, chocolate cream and chocolate pecan. This is the chocolate pecan which fell apart, but it still tasted great.